There seems to be some conventional wisdom that a bands best work is their early years. We often read and hear statements like, “I like ‘old’ (insert band X)’ or I like ‘The golden era of band X’ or ‘classic’ or how many times we have we heard the sying, ‘First three albums only’ ? There are exceptions to any rule. I’ve chatted with my colleague Martin Popoff and he and I feel there are some bands (Saxon, Motorhead, etc) that if you strip away the veil of teary-eyed nostalgia, their recent output is as good (or even better) than the so-called ‘classic’ years. I firmly put Vicious Rumors in the camp. The band have churned three skull-frying albums in the past few years and their newest CONCUSSION PROTOCOL just kills.
Since moving up to the venerable SPV/Steamhammer label the band has been on a huge role. They have put out three studio albums and two live albums in the past five years. The new album has the classic ‘warball’ mascot on the front cover and they band serve up classic Vicious Rumours Metal. 11 songs, 51 minutes of pure classic Metal.
There have been a couple of line-up changes with new bassist, Tilen Hudrap (Paradox, Thraw) joining the ranks. Founder Geoff Thorpe must have a lucky horseshoe up his ass because somehow, I don’t know how, but he has had eight singers (at least) pass through the band and EVERY time, the new singer is just a killer vocalist, just as good as the last. Brian Allen is no longer in the band after singing on the last two studio albums, which is a shame because the line-up seemed to be stabilizing. However along comes young master Nick Holleman from the Netherlands, a full 30 years younger than Geoff Thorpe and he just nails it. His voice is perfect for the band; range, power, a forceful delivery and pipes for miles. I hope he can stay with the band for a while and even if he doesn’t he will have a long career in front of him.
CONCUSSION PROTOCOL finds that sweet-spot of speed and heaviness that they have perfected, part Thrash, part Power laced with melody and ride it and ride it hard. There is a huge sense of pace and endless energy with perhaps only the super-catchy ‘Last Of Our Kind’ easing off the gas. It’s still an awesome song, it would have fit easily on any of the late 80’s/early 90’s albums. Album highlights are ‘Chasing The Priest’, ‘Take It Or Leave It’ with a super infectious gang-chorus and the skull-concussing title track. The guitar team of Thorpe and Rasmussen shred up a storm of notes and solos with flying fingers.
I think as we creep towards the end of 2016 and people start to think about ‘year-in-review’ lists, you would be hard pressed to find a more pure and sublime example of US Power Metal.
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